West Nile on the rise in the U.S.

by Carol Thompson

West Nile virus has been making a strong comeback throughout the United States, despite the drought and the low mosquito population.

In a statement released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is noted that higher than usual rates of West Nile virus infections have been reported.

“Though West Nile infections tend to occur every summer, this year’s outbreaks have thus far been earlier and more significant than in previous years,” the press release states. “Most infections occur from June into September and the highest infection numbers are usually in mid-August. The number of reported West Nile Viruses at the end of July, however, has not been this high since 2004.”

Locally, infected mosquitoes have been found in New Haven and Central Square.

In Onondaga County, the virus has reportedly become widespread.  Neither Oswego or Onondaga counties have plans to aerial spray at this time.

This year, there have been of 241 cases of West Nile virus reported nationwide, including four deaths.

“It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years,” said Marc Fischer, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Arboviral Diseases Branch, in a statement. “Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family.”

While most cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahime, 42 states have reported infections in humans, birds or mosquitos. The virus is most often transmitted to humans by mosquitos.

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